Dee tagged me for a timely little idea she had. I won’t call it a meme, though I’m doing it for meme Monday anyway. Dee wants me to help get the word out about a charity that she is passionate about, which got me to thinking about the charities that I am passionate about, and people I love are passionate about, and how at this time of year, some folks do some end of the year giving in the name of loved ones or so on, and heck, maybe someone might not know about one of my favorite charities. So, not only am I going to tell you about Dee’s charity, I’ll tell you about a few of mine.
Kiva – This is Dee’s choice. Kiva gives loans to the working poor in the developing world. In Dee’s words:
Kiva is a wonderful organization that allows you to make an impact in someone’s life in a very big way. Kiva promotes people from all over the world, who need money to start a small business. You lend them the money, as little as $20 and watch them soar. Most of the loans are repaid in full within a short time. You are not just helping someone, you are enabling them to dream and watching their dream come alive.Is there a greater pleasure?
Heifer International – This is my mom’sÂ favorite charity.Â They have a very cool ‘pay it forward’ program, which they implement through giving animals to those in need.Â The majority of the recipients are in the developing world, but some are right here in the United States.Â The recipient of the gift ‘pays it forward’ by giving that animal’s first offspring to someone else in the community, and so on. Â So if they receive a goat, they can use the milk from that goat to feed their family, and weave clothes from the hair on the goat.Â When the goat has a kid, they donate that kid to another family, who can use the milk from THAT goat, if it’s a female goat, to feed their family, etc.Â Pretty great program.Â There’s an education center not too far away from us…one of maybe 2 or 3 in the United States.Â I keep hoping Maya’s girlscout troop might go for a tour, but thus far I haven’t had any luck.
Bay Area Crisis NurseryÂ - This is Ted’s personal favorite.Â They’re a local organization, and what they do is take care of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers whose parents are in crisis for whatever reason, and can’t keep their kids with them at the moment.Â Â From their website:
This program assists families when there is an immediate need for a family to admit children due to a crisis or stressful situation. The average stay is a week to ten days. Parents are required to develop a plan of action to alleviate the crisis or stressful situation. Admission to this program is through the request of a parent in stress or crisis.
We’ve been involved with this organizationÂ several times throughtout the years.Â Way back when I worked at EDS, we had aÂ team go and paint a couple of rooms for them on Global Volunteer Day.Â Ted and Maya were part of our team, even though they didn’t work at EDS.Â Â Ted has featured them several times on his public service programÂ on the radio.Â Â They had a ‘miracle makeover’ last year, in which an entire building was demolished and rebuilt, giving them wonderful new facilities.Â Maya’s girlscout troop cooked and delivered a meal to feed the hungry volunteers who were putting up the new building.Â Her troop also goes there every year to wrap gifts for the children, and we have donated clothing and toys a few times as well.Â They are a great organization.
World Wildlife FundÂ - This is Maya’s favorite charity, and where her ‘giving money’ portion of her allowance often goes.Â The World Wildlife Fund works to conserve nature, both plants and animals.Â From their website:
WWF’s mission is the conservation of nature. Using the best available scientific knowledge and advancing that knowledge where we can, we work to preserve the diversity and abundance of life on Earth and the health of ecological systems by
- protecting natural areas and wild populations of plants and animals, including endangered species;
- promoting sustainable approaches to the use of renewable natural resources; and
- promoting more efficient use of resources and energy and the maximum reduction of pollution. We are committed to reversing the degradation of our planet’s natural environment and to building a future in which human needs are met in harmony with nature. We recognize the critical relevance of human numbers, poverty and consumption patterns to meeting these goals.
Southern Poverty Law CenterÂ - This is one of my favorites.Â The Southern Poverty Law Center started out as a Civil Rights Law Firm, and has grown into an organization that fights hatred and bigotry through litigation as well as through education.Â They have a program called “Teaching Tolerence” that works to educate children about the anguish caused by intolerance.Â Their litigation department works to combat racism by fighting for civil rights, and taking power from hate groups like the Aryan Nation and the KKK.Â From their website:
The SPLC legal department fights all forms of discrimination and works to protect society’s most vulnerable members, handling innovative cases that few lawyers are willing to take. Over three decades, it has achieved significant legal victories, including landmark Supreme Court decisions and crushing jury verdicts against hate groups.
I love this group, and donate every year to their organization.
Mercy Corps – I like this group a lot…they work to alleviate suffering through a three pronged approach. They work to help in times of emergency…mostly in developing countries, but not entirely. They worked to help victims of Hurricaine Katrina, for example. They work to improve infrastructure, through programs focusing on agriculture, health, housing, economic development, education, and environment. They work to create stability in war torn areas through programs that focus on citizen participation, accountability, conflict management, and the rule of law.
From their website:
We believe in the intrinsic value and dignity of human life.
We are awed by human resilience, and believe in the ability of all people to thrive, not just exist.
Our spiritual and humanitarian values compel us to act.
We believe that all people have the right to live in peaceful communities and participate fully in the decisions that affect their lives.
We believe that human imagination and energy can inspire innovative solutions to any problem, no matter how intractable.
We believe that it is our duty to be effective stewards of the financial resources entrusted to us.
Child Abuse Prevention Council – This is another local group, though certainly there are Child Abuse Prevention services all over the country. Their mission, from their website:
Promote the safety of our children
Raise community awareness
Influence public policy
Educate our community and families
Provide resources and support families
One program that they have is called Newborn Connections, and what they do is to send out volunteers and nurses to visit mothers and their infants post partum, offering support and encouragement at a vital time in the relationships within a family unit. This is the local group to whom I usually donate in the names of Maya’s school teachers, as a Christmas gift. I don’t know what they might want, probably not a mug or a plaque that says “World’s Greatest Teacher” or anything like that. Of course, a Starbucks card is also pretty welcome, but I leave that to the other parents.
Feel free to leave a comment, telling us about your favorite charity, and what good they do in your local community, or the greater community of the world.Â